First off, a very big congratulations on your engagement! This is how I like to start out my emails to couples that reach out to me because I want this time to be exciting for you, and to highlight the fact that proposing to your love/saying yes is a huge life milestone and deserves to be celebrated. If you're reading this, it likely means that you've been recently engaged and are either planning your wedding or haven't even begun to plan yet. Whether you have started planning your wedding or aren't even sure where to begin, I'm happy that you found your way to this post. There will be a lot of advice and tips (both personal and professional) that I will give you in this post to help you make the most of this special time in your life, and to be prepared to take the next step and begin to plan your wedding.
Being engaged is a weird in-between phase. It's an exciting time, because it is the first phase in starting the rest of your life as a couple. But it can also be a very stressful time, because through all of the excitement and highs of the engagement, you are expected to save money and plan for an entire wedding. And you're getting asked questions about the wedding from the second you share the news of your engagement (which can really dull out the initial excitement). Where do you even begin? What do you tell people? And what should you know before planning a wedding? The great news about this post is that it's a post that you can save and refer back to, because it's both relevant when you first get engaged and also when you are ready to begin wedding planning (which should be two different time periods of your engagement). In this post we'll cover how to answer all of the pesky wedding questions that inevitably come up from your family members, where to begin on planning, and things you should know before you start planning. So get ready, because there's a lot of great information coming your way!
Q&A The very first thing that happens when the news of your engagement starts to spread in your family and friend circles is that people will inevitably pester you with questions about the wedding that you haven't even begun to plan yet. Queen of all of these questions is "When is the wedding?" If you find yourself already worn out from answering the same questions (I know I definitely did), use this next section as a toolkit so that you can keep some of these answers in your back pocket for the next time someone asks you one of the following questions. These answers are all respectful ways of discontinuing the conversation or letting the person asking know that everything is still a work in progress.
Question: When's the wedding?! This is probably THE most popular question you'll get asked by your friends and family, and the question that will probably bring you back from the high of engagement to the reality of planning. You should have a response to this question ready to go as soon as you tell people you're engaged, because TRUST ME- they will ask. Some potential answers to this question are:
You'll know as soon as we know
We're thinking (season) (year)
We haven't had the chance to even look at venues yet
We're going to take some time to enjoy the engagement before we begin wedding planning
We're focused on saving up right now and still working everything out
Question: Am I invited to the wedding?
This is probably the most annoying question you'll get asked as you decide who you want to share your special day with.
As of right now, no one has been invited yet. We haven't sent out invitations (or set a date, started planning, etc.)
We haven't even looked at invitations- we're just not there in the planning process yet
We'd love for everyone we love to be there, but our budget is tight so we have to work the numbers
Question: Are you ready to get married/ Are you sure?
I personally loathe this question. I got engaged when I was 24 and so many people who were older than me (my coworkers included) would make comments about how I was "getting married really young." When you hear comments like that or questions about how sure you are, it can really get to your head at times and detract from your excitement. At the time, I just shrugged off the comments but it would have been nice to have an automatic response ready to go and to not have to give it another thought.
Here are some answers I wish I had:
I would not be wearing this ring if I was not ready (if you can be a little sassy/sarcastic at times like me)
We both are ready for this next step
We've been talking about this for years and I'm ecstatic to be where we are today
Question: Can I be your Best Man/ Maid of Honor?
It's such a big decision to make so quickly
We haven't figured out the logistics yet. We're trying to just enjoy being engaged
There's so many people that mean so much to me. It's going to be a tough decision for sure
Once you've successfully navigated those initial questions (and hopefully dodged some awkward conversations), you're ready to start planning.
Where do you even begin?
(As outlined on the "Complete Wedding Package" page)
1. First and foremost, the golden rule to being engaged is to take the time to actually ENJOY IT. This is an exciting time in your life, and it will go by so fast! Take the time to slow down and enjoy your new engagement with your fiancé before jumping straight into planning. As soon as people get the news of the engagement, they will ask you for all of the wedding details, but have peace of mind in knowing that IT'S OKAY TO NOT KNOW RIGHT AWAY. Just make sure you have your responses ready to go in your back pocket. It's even okay to just be honest with people and tell them you'd like to soak up your time being engaged right now. That is a perfectly acceptable answer to any wedding question that you get asked.
2. Next, let's get the basics down. Here are some questions that will get you both thinking about the basic components of your wedding:
Where do you envision yourselves getting married? (country/city/location)
How large do you want your wedding to be? (number of guests you want to invite)
What wedding style (elegant, rustic, industrial, romantic, whimsical, etc.), colors or theme speak(s) to you? Refer to Your Guide to Booking Your 5-Star Venue post for more on venues that suit the different styles you are looking for.
What budget are you both comfortable with? If you're not sure, is there a number you're not comfortable going over? And is there a minimum that you expect to spend? What is a reasonable amount for you to save up in the time leading up to when you want your wedding to be?
What date/time of year you want the wedding? (day/night, winter/summer/spring/fall)
3. Start researching and contacting vendors! If there's any vendor you absolutely need to have, book that vendor first before they get booked up, and then build the rest of your dream vendor team around that. If you don't have any specific vendors in mind, I suggest you look at booking either the venue or the wedding planner first. Either one will likely have a list of preferred vendors that you can use as a way to find other vendors (any vendor that comes recommended by a vendor you like is already a great lead!). And a wedding planner will come with a lot of great recommendations and things to think about in terms of selecting your other vendors. Signing contracts is not something to take lightly- you are placing your special day in the hands of people you just met. So make sure that you take the proper time to research and vet your vendors accordingly.
Once you have a good idea of the answers to the above questions and you've started thinking about vendors, you're ready to begin the planning! It's important to note that each of these steps will occur at different times for each couple. Some couples want to enjoy their engagement phase a little longer, while some couples might be ready to jump straight into the planning. The beautiful thing about weddings is that they are unique to the couples that plan them, which also means that every planning process is going to be unique. If you are ready to work on your own unique planning timeline, let's chat!
In the meantime, the best piece of advice that I can give any engaged couple (which also goes with step #1 above) is to take advantage of wedding shows/ expos as much as you can! Besides all of the fun freebies, food/cake tasting, and free champagne that you receive, wedding shows are also a great way to meet all types of vendors (some of which will even give you booking discounts just for saying hi to them at the show). Physically seeing what vendors have to offer and their personal style will give you a better feel for them, and will help you better visualize what your wedding could look like. After some time of offering virtual wedding shows, in-person ones are popping up again, which is so exciting! Wedding shows also usually have fun raffles, so you only have something to gain by going. It can be a great time for you and your significant other. Freebies galore, trend spotting, vendor scoping, and talking to other couples going through what you're going through- what could be better?
Bonus tip: If you're like me and you really want to maximize the engagement celebration, splurge and get a bridal subscription box! Getting monthly boxes of cute wedding and honeymoon swag is a great way to soak up the feeling of being engaged and carry on the excitement through the planning process. I've gotten cute T-shirts, "I said yes!" coffee mug and jewelry tray, decorations for my bridal shower and bachelorette party, vow books, a wedding planner, and so much more. There are lots of great subscription boxes to choose from, and it brings a little extra joy to wedding planning.
This should give you a great kickoff to your wedding planning. There are so many pieces of advice in this post that will make your wedding planning SO MUCH EASIER. Although a stressful time, it is possible to enjoy the engagement and planning- you just have to do it right. Make sure that you slow down every now and then so you can truly cherish the fact that you are engaged to the love of your life, because that stage in your life comes and goes so quickly. Your wedding planning timeline is just that- yours. So don't let anyone pressure you into speeding up the process or going faster than you are comfortable with just to answer your family members' pesky questions. You start wedding planning when the time is right for you. Then it's happy planning!